HOW WE GET THERE: EDUCATION REFORM
5. Helping traumatized children learn should be a major focus of education reform.
Schools, which are significant communities for children and teachers, must be adequately supported in order to address trauma’s impact on learning. Otherwise, many children will be unable to achieve their academic potential. The answer is not to ask teachers or individual schools to solve these problems on their own or in piecemeal fashion but rather to develop a broad public policy agenda in which schools play a key role. To ensure that children achieve at their highest potential, we must make sure that research on trauma’s impact on learning is widely understood and informs decision-making at the public policy level. In short, helping traumatized children learn, should become a major focus of education reform.
The interdisciplinary work focused on creating environments where all children can learn began more than fifteen years ago. Since then, a number of organizations, working at the district, state, and national level, have developed a new vocabulary for addressing the needs of children who have experienced traumatic events and new ways of structuring the school environment. The growing “trauma sensitive schools” movement has fostered a shared understanding of the coordination needed between teachers, administrators, social workers, and even bus drivers and cafeteria workers, to create the safe and supportive environments that children who have experienced overwhelming adversity—and all children—need.
In order to continue expanding this movement, we invite you to visit the Advocating for Trauma Sensitive Schools section of this website and join in the public policy advocacy to include trauma’s impact on learning in the broader education reform agenda.